7
votes
1answer
460 views

Pinyin “ying” has an “o” sound?

Look at 1:54 and 5:22 of this video: Chinese Pinyin in 6 Mins Is ying really pronounced with an "o" sound? This seems counterintuitive, especially when yin (at 1:49 in the video) sounds as a native ...
5
votes
4answers
360 views

That mystical 就 again

Here is a sentence: 厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳 Below are my translation variants. Bold letters should be a 'jiu' english analog here. The mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace scared Harry the ...
4
votes
2answers
462 views

Tips for multiple-pronunciation characters (多音字)

This is a broad request for tips, but I have a specific question in mind as well. 尽 can be pronounced as "jin4" or "jin3". In Pleco, the definition for "jin3" is "to the greatest extent" while one ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Difference between 与,和 and 跟?

Do the following three sentences mean the same thing, that is, can they be used interchangeably? 她的父母就来我们家与我的家人见面了。 她的父母就来我们家和我的家人见面了。 她的父母就来我们家跟我的家人见面了。
3
votes
2answers
187 views

Difference between 活 and 住?

I read that both 活 and 住 both refer to the verb "to live". Is there a difference between the two?
2
votes
2answers
308 views

Ordering food from a menu in a restaurant

How should I order food from a menu in a restaurant? In English I'd usually say something like 'I'll have the beef' or 'one of these and two of those' while pointing. In the past in China I have ...
6
votes
3answers
221 views

Visual puns and phrases

Some characters are visual puns: 尜 (小大小), 尖 (小大); others are a phrase written as a single character: 膥 (未成肉), 籴 (入米), 汆 (入水), 奀 (不大). What are some other characters which fit into these categories?
20
votes
5answers
810 views

How to differentiate between “On Top” and “Above”

If I wanted to translate the prepositional phrase "on the bed" to Chinese, I know to say "床上", but I don't know what the translation would be for saying "above/over the bed". From what I can gather, ...
2
votes
3answers
409 views

国家 vs. 国, when can 国 be used alone?

In the Chinese book for beginners by Bellassen, it is stated that 国 cannot be used alone: it doesn't have a meaning on its own, and thus the word country/fatherland is 国家 and not 国. However... I am ...
6
votes
2answers
400 views

留学: Why the use of “留”?

I'm sure like many students of Chinese, my first encounter with the character 留 was in the word 留学, meaning "to study abroad". Some time later I encountered 留 as an independent word, meaning "to ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

How is 就 (jiù) used?

Pimsleur's Mandarin course teaches "I'm leaving very early tomorrow morning" as: 我明天早上很早就走 (wŏ míngtiān zăoshàng hĕn zăo jiù zŏu) It says that 就 (jiù) doesn't have a corresponding meaning in ...
1
vote
1answer
143 views

询问奸雄所见略同的由来 and how does it relate to chinese

The quote"我很想询问奸雄所见略同的由来" seems very interesting to me. And in Google Translate, it translates to "I would like to ask the king's men great minds think alike the origin of." It doesn't seem to make ...
3
votes
2answers
363 views

What’s the meaning of 会 in this sentence?

In this sentence: 你明天这个时候会是在做什么?, I find 会 useless, especially since its English translation on tatoeba.org does not seem to reflect its sense. What meaning does it carry here?
9
votes
1answer
403 views

Is there a difference between 夂 and 夊?

Looking at the list of Kangxi radicals over at Wikipedia, I just noticed something I haven't noticed before. Radical number 34 (夂) and 35 (夊) are virtually identical. I write these radicals in the ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Is this a Chinese Proverb?

I found this proverb which I'm not sure about what is its origin: He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever. Is this really a known chinese proverb? ...
8
votes
1answer
317 views

How is the Kanji character 豚 related to the chinese 猪 / 豬

The Chinese character for pig is 猪 / 豬 (zhu1) In many Japanese restaurants around Hong Kong I've seen this somewhat different character 豚 which appears to also mean pig. How would you say it in ...
2
votes
1answer
531 views

How useful are the kanji in reading Chinese? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it easier to learn Chinese after learning Japanese or vice versa? I'm learning Japanese, and I'm going to learn all of the jouyou kanji, which is about 2000 ...
12
votes
3answers
344 views

Use of 十年中 to express duration

Does 十年中 mean "in ten years"? I found it in this sentence from tatoeba.org: 他十年中第一次回家。 He returned home for the first time in ten years. It seems like I could use the same pattern to say, ...
1
vote
3answers
465 views

What is a good English translation for “老乡”?

In what contexts can 老乡 used? How do they translate to English?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Does 给你 mean “Here you go?”

I found a very short sentence on tatoeba.org. All it says is, "给你。" That literally means "Give you," but what does it really mean? My best guess is that I could say it as I give something to you, ...
4
votes
1answer
226 views

Tone of 竟 and 境 in Mandarin and Cantonese

竟 and 境 are both read ging2 in Cantonese, which usually corresponds to a third tone syllable in Mandarin (as is the case for 警, which is ging2 in Cantonese and jing3 in Mandarin). However, both of ...
2
votes
2answers
633 views

Cantonese 咩 (me1) vs. 嗎 (maa1)

What is the difference between 咩 (me1) and 嗎 (maa1) in Cantonese? Are they always interchangeable? Example: m4 sai2 faan1 gung1 me1? (You don't have to go to work)
5
votes
2answers
401 views

Difference between 两个都 and 我们俩

Pimsleur's Mandarin course teaches 'both of us' as 我们两个都 (wǒ men liăng ge dōu), but in another question I asked here I recently found that 我们俩 (wǒ men liă). Are these always interchangeable, or are ...
2
votes
2answers
181 views

Does 外行的想法 mean “rookie mistake”?

I found this sentence and its translation on tatoeba.org. Is there a better way to translate it into English? 這是外行的想法。 That's a layman's idea. I looked up 外行, and it does mean amateur or ...
6
votes
2answers
238 views

Meaning of 一人付一半 in this sentence

In this sentence: 车费我们俩一人付一半,怎么样? I don't fully understand the meaning of 一人付一半. I have found that 付一半 can mean "pay half", but 一人 confuses me (if it refers to one person, why is that form ...
8
votes
2answers
680 views

What is the name of this traditional Chinese character font?

The image below is from a book I bought while in Hong Kong (ISBN 957-14-4160-0. It's an edition of a work in classical Chinese, with an ancient commentary in classical Chinese, and a modern commentary ...
6
votes
4answers
659 views

What does this character mean?

I've tried a number of online and paper dictionaries (Chinese-Chinese character dictionaries) and I still can't find this character. Since I don't know how it's pronounced or what the right part is ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to ask someone to take a photo?

Recently on vacation I wanted to ask a Chinese tourist if they would mind taking a photo of my wife and I - but I didn't know how, so just asked 你可以吗? (nǐ kěyǐ ma?) while pointing to my camera. How ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Writing sheets generator

When I was in China I bought some writing books for practicing Chinese handwriting. This is good but have 2 disadvantages. Size of cell is too big for brush and too small for roller pen. Must be for ...
3
votes
4answers
224 views

How to ask “is it really so that…”?

How do I ask a question like "is it really so that you're just 18?" or "is it really so that the movie was good?", i.e. a surprised question? My guess is something along the lines of "这是真的,你只有十八岁呢?", ...
2
votes
2answers
178 views

How do you say “preferences” as opposed to “demands”?

I encounter many situations where I want to ask someone what they would like as opposed to what they need. For example, I wanted to find a restaurant for our class to have an end of the semester ...
3
votes
1answer
182 views

What's the difference between “问一下”,“查询”, “询问”?

In the context of phone conversations with vendors I often default to either: 我想问一下… 请问… I'm looking for a possibly more appropriate way to address someone in this context. Would it be appropriate ...
2
votes
1answer
313 views

Expressions that have no meaning (什么/来着)

I know that these two expression, in certain circumstances, have no meaning and are optional. I'm trying to figure out how to use them, even though they have no meaning. 什么 This has a meaning, ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you say “I'll be a little late”?

I've learned that 来不及 means that I can't make something at a specific time. I've most often seen it used in the sense that "I can't make the appointment at all". How do you indicate to someone that ...
3
votes
2answers
187 views

Simplification of 蘭(兰)

I've always been curious about the process of simplifying 蘭 to 兰. I'm not really familiar with the simplification process, but this one is shocking to me. From what I've seen (I've studied only ...
3
votes
1answer
248 views

Usage of 感动 (active/passive?)

According to mdbg.net 感动 means both 'to move (emotionally)' and 'moving'. But from what I understand from some texts I have '邻居们都很感动' implying a more passive meaning for 感动. Can someone shed some ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

(Literally) Seeing Through Things

Earlier today, I ended up in a discussion which somehow involved people who were (literally) transparent. I was somewhat at a loss for how to say "Can you see through him?". After some research, I've ...
6
votes
2answers
88 views

Is the description for components of 条 correct?

During studying 条 character in one of the dictionaries I have found decomposition of this character to two components: 夂 zhǐ: to go 木 mù: tree; wood (Kangxi radical 75) I see the 夂 component but ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Characters which have several different shapes

For those who might not read the question fully: this not about simplified vs traditional characters. While the traditional and simplified version of a character can be considered the same, they at ...
3
votes
2answers
399 views

What are some good dictionaries about Mathematics?

I have found a dictionary about Mathematics; however, it goes from Chinese to English. I have tried different bookstores in my city, but they don't have an English to Chinese dictionary. I have ...
8
votes
2answers
179 views

What is the part without the radical called?

For example, these characters have different radicals: 根 跟 恨 狠 But the part of the characters minus the radical is the same. Does that part (艮 in this case) have a name?
7
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the correct way to say: “I thought you were somebody else.”

In English if you mistake someone for another person it is common to say "I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else". How should this be said in Chinese?
4
votes
4answers
445 views

Did phonological systems (namely bopomofo) standardize Chinese phonemes?

As far as I know, Zhuyin fuhao, or Bopomofo, is the first system of phonetic symbols devised to aid to write Chinese phonology. That was in 1910, so we could say very recent in the history of Chinese. ...
8
votes
1answer
277 views

Correct usage for 跟。。。过不去

This question has two parts: What's the precise meaning of this expression? What is the correct usage? Question (1) I understand it to mean that the person referred to (eg, 跟她过不去) is uncomfortable ...
8
votes
3answers
205 views

Are 平常 and 通常 essentially interchangeable?

In a few of my entries on Lang-8.com, several of my Chinese friends have changed 平常 into 通常 and vice versa without providing additional explanation. It it just a matter of personal taste?
4
votes
1answer
288 views

Where can I find Codecademy for Written Chinese?

Recently, my wife has been learning to program JavaScript using Codecademy. I like how it walks people through exercises step by step, and builds up concepts, etc. All the marking is automated, and ...
4
votes
3answers
301 views

Questions ending with 么

I was chatting online with a Chinese person and he sometimes added 么 at the end of questions: 你觉得汉语难么? 是因为声调掌握不好么? Can 么 and 吗 be used interchangeably? Do they have the exact same meaning?
2
votes
1answer
811 views

Is the cantonese expression 五福臨門 present in Mandarin too?

A recent question prompted me to look for expressions related to the Chinese New Year and, among them, I found one that particularly stroke me as interesting: 五福臨門 = according to the poster it ...
2
votes
2answers
484 views

How to describe a puppet show

I want to describe a puppet show we saw. It was in a theatre and performed by professional puppeteers. I found three terms for puppet: 人形, 木偶, and 傀儡. I couldn't find anything for puppeteer. Here's ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

What website will speak Cantonese to me? [closed]

My parents are born in Hong Kong so I can speak Cantonese semi-fluently, although I cannot write. I've been learning Mandarin and I find that my cantonese has been useful because if the word is used ...

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